A state licensing board approved a provisional license for new Minneapolis superintendent Ed Graff, clearing the way for him to lead the School District.
The Board of State Administrators (BOSA) approved the request for a license variance on Monday.
“We have granted other variances for the superintendency position in Minneapolis,” said BOSA Chairwoman Mary Mackbee. “I just hope that maybe this is the last one, that future candidates will come already certified and licensed.”
Graff is coming to Minneapolis after leading the Anchorage Public Schools for three years. The school board selected Graff on May 24 over state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.
Out-of-state superintendents often can automatically receive a Minnesota provisional license if they have a license in another state. But Graff is not licensed as a superintendent because Alaska law does not require school district leaders to obtain a license.
Since he does not have a license, the Minneapolis district had to apply for a variance.
The BOSA originally said it needed more time to review additional information provided by the district. But the board amended its agenda to hear the matter on Monday.
Graff said that he was excited to be moving forward in the process and that he is looking forward to “doing great things for [Minneapolis] as well as the state of Minnesota.”
Graff is in Minneapolis this week meeting with district employees and visiting some summer school classes.
He will begin taking classes at the University of Minnesota this summer in order to meet the requirements to become fully licensed within two years.
Graff expects to complete all of his coursework by June 2017.
In deciding whether to grant the variance, the BOSA’s licensing committee, made up of several BOSA members, considered if there were other licensed candidates for Minneapolis to consider.
The committee chairwoman, Deborah Henton, said she struggled with recommending the variance, because the district had licensed candidates, including Cassellius.
“It’s a very difficult situation given the two candidates that you had,” Henton said.
The district said that it had eight licensed candidates but that only one had served as a superintendent in the past. That candidate, Cassellius, oversaw a much smaller district than Minneapolis, said Maggie Sullivan, Minneapolis’ human capital director.
Graff will assume his position superintendent on July 1.